San Diego Law Review

Library of Congress Authority File


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Effective July 1, 1966, Rule 11 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure placed a burden on federal judges to personally address the defendant to ascertain whether or not he knowingly, willingly and intelligently waived the constitutional rights and privileges attendant to a trial by jury when such defendant entered a plea of guilty. Adoption of the rule stemmed from a desire to insure fairness and adequacy in accepting a guilty plea when it was realized that a majority of defendants in the federal court pleaded guilty and did not proceed to trial. There are several underlying reasons for the Rule 11 requirement that a defendant be personally addressed by the court when entering a plea of guilty: (1) in order that the plea reflect the defendant’s own choice he must be aware of the charges and consequences of his conviction; (2) it is important that the defendant realize that the court is concerned with preserving his rights and in so doing, impress upon the defendant the court’s fairness; and, (3) a record will be provided which will minimize later claims of error…

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